>> hello and welcome to the "journal" here on dw. >> our top stories -- syrian assurances. the russian foreign minister receives a rousing welcome in damascus. >> protests in athens as politicians there. on the line, another $130 billion -- another 130 billion in loans. >> europe's record deepfreeze.
>> the syrian president is willing to cooperate with all efforts toward stability in his country. >> that is according to the state news agency in syria. bashar al assad has met with the russian foreign minister, who says the talks were very useful in promoting peace. >> meantime, europe is stepping up pressure with six nations withdrawing their ambassadors for consultations. among them, france and britain. >> the eu also considering new sanctions to cut the regime's access to cash as crowds lined the streets of damascus today to get a rapturous welcome to their russian visitor. >> a hero's welcome for the russian foreign minister. pro-assad supporters lined the route as the russian foreign
minister made his way through. >> we thank russia and china for their veto against international intervention. for god, syria, and bashar. >> he headed straight to the presidential palace. he said the syrian leader was preparing a referendum on constitutional reform, and that both countries were committed to the first arab league peace plan agreed back in november. >> the president of syria assured us he was completely committed to the task of stopping violence regardless where it may come from. according to what was mentioned in the initiative. >> but the killing goes on. government forces have again shelled the opposition stronghold of homs. this internet footage is said to show the aftermath of the attacks. more than 100 people have been killed here since monday. syria pose a powerful neighbor turkey is intensifying support of syria opposition activists. the prime minister wants assad's
opponents to work together. >> we are going to start a new initiative with those countries that stand by the people, not the syrian government. this is what we are preparing. >> the u.s. has closed its embassy in damascus. britain and several other eu countries ever called ambassadors as have the gulf states. international pressure on syria is mounting. >> let's bring in our correspondent. markets, the russian foreign minister received an enthusiastic welcome in damascus. what does he want to achieve? >> we do not have any details, so it is hard to say. what we heard, what you talked about already is assad agreed to take up talks with opposition leaders, and he will allow air bleed observers to get back to the process, and he is already ready to allow even more observers, to increase the number of observers.
russian media speculated today that there might have been road maps that would allow parties and a process to save face, and very important, to keep the russians in the process. it is clear after the veto, which russia has done in the united states -- the united security council, for them not only to block the process, but that they really can contribute to stop the violence. >> a lot that they want to show the international community, but there is also a lot of economic and military interest that russia has in syria. can you fill us in about that? >> yes, sure. if the assad regime does fall, russia will lose its last ally in the region. that would mean they would lose the naval base in the mediterranean and a lot of arms deals with hundreds of millions of dollars, just the week before
a russian leader reported that russia will deliver, for example, what is to be used against the protesters. >> markets, thank you so very much. meanwhile in berlin, police have arrested two men suspected of spying for the syrian intelligence agency. one is a syrian national. the other holds dual german lebanese citizenship. >> prosecutors say syrian opposition activists living in germany had been kept under close surveillance by syrian agents. they, in turn, have been watched by germany's domestic intelligence service. last weekend, opposition protesters stormed the syrian embassy in berlin. for years, diplomats have been suspected of maintaining a
network of agents. their job -- to identify regime opponents in germany. if those people return to syria, the risk detention, interrogation, and beatings. >> we will once again make it perfectly clear to syrian representatives that we will in no way tolerate any crackdown on syrian opposition activists in germany. it is against the law here. it was just weeks ago that this regime critic was a salted in his berlin apartment by two unknown attackers. a member of the opposition syrian national transitional council, he believes syrian agents were behind the attack. prosecutors say so far, there is no connection between that incident and tuesday's arrests. >> now, to athens where government and international creditors are working this hour on a last-minute deal on the cuts needed to free up the
desperately needed package. >> the pressure is immense on politicians to get their hands on another international lifeline in exchange for more tough cuts to pensions and pay. >> an increasingly angry republic is saying enough. tens of thousands have taken to the streets. unions are calling for a complete debt write-down. >> this is just one thing the government is up against. mass demonstrations, a 24-hour strike, and crunch talks between investors and officials. >> by early morning, the strike had brought public transport to a standstill in athens. ships stayed tied up at the docks. schools were closed and state- run hospitals operated at minimal staff levels. many greeks are angry at the prospect of even more austerity measures from the government. >> they are making the sport, completely pour -- they are making us poor.
we are a steaming kettle ready to explode. >> they have turned the country upside down over the last two years. they are driving us mad. eventually, we will not even be able to drink coffee. these are not people. they are barbarians. >> by midday, thousands had converged outside parliament. over loudspeakers, unions called on workers to stand up to what they describe as medieval conditions. inside parliament, the greek government moved ahead with its plans for spending cuts. >> we go to our athens correspondent. public-sector jobs are now on the chopping block. has that brought this all to a new level? >> well, the greeks are definitely feeling all the measures being down on them constantly. they feared that this new fresh loan, which they say is only being signed on to save the banks and financial
institutions and will only allow grece to serve banks, instead of any money to the greek people -- they say the cuts they are being asked to get this money will just be too much. now 900,000 people in greece are unemployed, and the new cuts and measures will only ask for more layoffs in the public sector as well as cuts. all this an effort to make greece more competitive. however, many experts warn that this is not a way to make the country competitive but only cheaper. >> we know this has been going on forever. the german chancellor has said time is of essence. is that the view in athens? >> things here have been different. yes, there is a sense of urgency, but no deadlines as far as they are concerned. the officials here were supposed
to be meeting yesterday. that is the party leaders and prime minister. that got postponed until today, and again, we are hearing it will be pushed back to tomorrow morning. meanwhile, the prime minister has been holding meetings with investors. the big question is not when they will clinch the deal -- they need to have it ready by the summit on thursday. will the greek politicians finally deliver is the big question. >> thank you for the update. the euro has risen to a two- month high against the u.s. dollar appeared speculation is rife that athens is going to finally agreed to those austerity measures. >> that is right, but it remains a waiting game. the outcome still uncertain. here is our market report with more from the frankfurt stock
exchange. >> somehow, it sounds familiar, so familiar -- waiting for greece. that was the word on the floor this day as well. people were waiting for some sort of progress in the various talks on various levels going on in and around greece. nothing came of it until the end of trading, but still, the dax managed to catch up on all the losses throughout the day, and at just a slight loss at the end of the day's trading. people are still hopeful that the will not be a disorderly the fall, a default that would cause surely a lot of chaotic turbulence, at least in the first little while, after such a situation might arrive. car shares certainly the big losers these days, not least because there were worries that china might be affected by a slowdown in the world economy, and luxury car makers might sell less there, but there was also profit-taking involved.
car shares so far big favorites in this market. >> here now is a look at market numbers and how the markets are reacting. the dax composite a top german companies closing today 6754. euro stocks 50 -- that is up a bit. to thousand 514 there. on wall street, the dow at this hour trading at 12,883, also up a tick. the you're getting a real tail wind from those great debt talks. protect your private information while getting the access to the internet you want. that is the message for today's safer internet day, but there is a note of caution as well. >> germany's consumer protection minister has used the day to highlight the smartphones are even less secure than your regular computer. >> surfing the internet anytime anywhere -- it has become part of everyday life for 60% of
germans under 30, but is your data safe when you use a smartphones? germany's consumer protection minister says no. >> the background is that you do not even have to enter any data. simply visiting a web site is enough to identify your device and for the corresponding phone bill to be charged. >> the minister is urging smartphone makers to tighten security standards, and she wants to see action on the issue at a european level. >> in the future, european data privacy laws should apply to all companies active in the european market. even if they are not based in the eu and process data from outside. >> but legislation alone will not solve the problem. the german government says users need to be more careful with their private data on line. >> make sure you do. we will have more on safer
internet day coming up. >> first, a round of other stories making news this hour. air france has canceled hundreds of flights on the second a strike by pilots, flight attendants, and airport staff. the four-day walkout has been prompted by draft legislation that would make it more difficult for aviation workers to go on strike. >> the president of the maldives has resigned after a police mutiny. a group of officers joined a protest against the sacking of a judge. a successor has already been sworn in. >> authorities in eastern australia say flood defenses are expected to hold as water levels reached their peak. so far, it has destroyed hundreds of homes upstream. thousands of queensland residents have been ordered to evacuate. >> coming up later in this
of hunger. 800 million live on the thin edge of starvation. while they are slipping away, others in the world have the good fortune not to see them. we need to stop the hunger and start the hoping. >> 20 years have passed since the signing of the master treaty. it was designed to create a more integrated union. the promise was one of more freedom, more prosperity, and a guarantee of peace. >> after two decades, those dreams are now in danger with millions of europeans seeing their financial gains wiped out as the year remains very much under threat. >> the champagne corks may have been seven back in 1992, but it was the beginning of a new era for europe. the treaty called for a european
union with increasingly closer ties, political and economic. the euro was to become a symbol of that integration, but the project was flawed from the start according to the former president of the european commission. >> the currency union functioned well for 10 years but only stored on one leg. there were difficulties, and we saw what they were. also, the spirit of cooperation was lacking. >> he says europe must help breeze through the debt crisis and demands a clear commitment from athens. >> we are in a very decisive moment regarding the future of greece and the future of the euro. we want greece in the euro. >> president's old and new are asking the same question that was supposed to be resolved by the mastricht treat.
how can europe overcome its crisis and grow closer together? >> that is the question everyone wants the answer to. nina, what are people saying in brussels? do they share the growing sentiment that the european project is going wrong? >> no. well, here in brussels, the message is it is not the project itself that is going wrong. which is made some very bad mistakes when we first started, and we are paying a high price for it, but we are trying to fix these mistakes. problem was that when the euro was born, there was simply no consequences whenever countries did not stick to their old rules. so over the years, the treaty was amended. there have been changes made to the treaty, but it is only now in the current crisis that europeans really seem to have understood that what they need is stricter rules and more rigorous budgetary discipline and, above all, more political unity.
in a way, they are only just getting started with the project. >> people in greece and elsewhere getting started with their protests as well. we are seeing and mounting of anti-e u sentiment. can brussels turn this around? >> the eu is trying, but of course, it is taking some time. the austerity measures are very unpopular, painful measures, but they are necessary to get the eurozone back on track, and at last week's summit, leaders made it clear that they are getting the message and that they are trying to get the focus back on generating growth and jobs, so the message is out there that the eu has to be more than austerity measures and rescue packages for unstable countries. they are trying to work more closely together economically and politically, but, of course, it is going to take some time until even europeans regain some confidence in the european union. >> as we heard earlier today,
today is safer internet date. this year, there's a particular focus on increasing the awareness on the dangers of surfing among the internet's youngest users. >> many parents and teachers are still unaware of the sorts of things that can threaten children while they are online. one teacher is trying to open their eyes to the potential risks. >> children discover the world through play. it is also how they learn about the internet, but dangers lurk. this teacher wants to prepare children to face those dangers. she is working with a class of 9 and 10-year-old to make a series of video clips dealing with the digital world and explaining the perils. >> there are people on the internet who are not your friends. they want to cheat you, take your money, or are bad in other ways, so you need to take care. >> during their film sheet for safer internet day, the children
demonstrate their grasp of technology. "that goes in here." the children were able to choose topics to report on, from facebook to mobile apps to privacy laws. "being in front of the camera takes some getting used to, but in the end, the message gets out. these children are encouraging the use of a safe search engine. the teacher places the clips on line later. they help educate parents and grandparents about what safe surfing means for children. the european commission is behind safer internet date. 70 countries around the world are taking part. in germany, the partner is the click save initiative.
>> as we are all aware, the internet plays a big role in our lives, the lives of adults, but also those of teenagers and smaller children. there's a whole series of problems in europe, especially in germany. the main focus has been on issues like cyber bullying, data protection, and how people behave in social networks. projects like this one are few and far between. that is partly because teachers often feel less comfortable with new technologies than their pupils. >> for more, we are joined now by konstantin klein, our technology correspondent. welcome. >> the key headline of this year's state for internet date is connecting generations and educating each other. this is what this day is about. it is not about controlling the internet, blocking access, or
other was regulating the internet. it is just about education. in this context, i would like to emphasize the structure of the internet. it is merely an infrastructure like public streets and like you go on the road with a safe device, your car, and some knowledge about it, you should also travel the internet the same way with a safe computer protected from viruses, and with a lot of common sense and that hearing to a couple of rules. >> that is a great analogy. it is good to know it is not about blocking or preventing access, but what are some of the things that parents and teachers want to do to prevent children from having a bad experience? >> of course, there are technical means. each modern computers sold today comes with an operating system which already has parental controls built in. one might think, "i switch those on and everything is alright." that is not so. those controls only control access to pornographic or
extremist website. they do not control the interactions your child has. second, we should also think our children are digital natives. they know how to deal with these machines better than we do. they probably can circumvent those. this is about talking to children, telling them they are not alone and people out there might not be their friends. >> this sounds really important. is there the likelihood the outreach will be broadened in the future? >> one should certainly hope so, but the safer internet date is held for the fifth time in five consecutive years now. awareness could be better. what everyone can do is talk to their children and have the children talk to themselves. >> thank you very much. german cup soccer now and tuesday seized a david versus goliath battle. >> players are putting in the kilometers as they prepare for
their upcoming battle against the champions. they have had little choice. their training ground is frozen solid. not many fourth division club can afford indoor facilities. they have already knocked 1 topflight club and two second division teams out of the german cup, but this is their biggest challenge yet. >> we know they are strong, but we are approaching this match just like any other, though, of course, we are a little more motivated. >> there currently riding high at the top of the bundesliga. they are a daunting proposition, but the underdogs said they will have plenty of bite. >> i hope that we will be able to keep them from scoring for least the first 15 or 20 minutes. the longer it remains 0-0, the better our chances will be. >> the players are in top form.
on paper, they may not have the class, but they are fit and very determined. >> europe's big freeze is continuing. about 400 people have been killed since the cold snap started 11 days ago. >> in many locations, authorities are advising people to remain indoors and also to avoid trouble. >> winter storms have lashed bulgaria, bearing parts -- burying parts of the country under a thick blanket of snow. the city on the danube is one of the worst hit. authorities are urging people not to venture outdoors into the bitter cold. transport networks have ground to a halt, and many schools remained shut. despite the hardship caused, the extreme conditions could allow a rare sporting event to take place in the netherlands. the 11 cities toward across the frozen water waste. >> i think it will happen.
i have a good feeling about it. we only need another week of this weather. >> volunteers have already begun clearing the 200-kilometer course, the world's longest speedskatingng it can onlnl is atthe last race was in 1997. the freezing temperatures have created a bizarre landscape around the geneva in switzerland. if a layer of ice has created a unique winter wonderland. >> that is beautiful. we will be back in one hour with more here on dw. >> thanks for watching. captioned by the national captioning institute --www.ncicap.org--